Top Ten States For Staged Auto Accidents

January 11, 2010

My previous article about staged auto accidents is found at: Staged Auto Accidents Best to read these articles together.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a total of 70,844 Questionable Claims (QC) were submitted within in 2007 and rose to 74,676 QCs in 2008 (a 5.4% increase).

On the national level, the first quarter of 2009, 1129 staged accident claims were referred for further investigation, according to NICB. This is a 34% increase over the same time period in 2008, which had 845.

Top 10 states for “Questionable Claims” by loss in 2008 were:

1.California (15,609)
2.Florida (6,508)
3.Texas (6,455)
4.New York (6,378)
5.Michigan (2,691)
6.Georgia (2,244)
7.Illinois (2,231)
8.North Carolina (2,194)
9.Pennsylvania (1,881)
10.Arizona (1,854)

Staged auto accidents are no accident, and they are not victimless crimes. They are designed to receive payment for personal injuries and all the costs involved in a seemingly innocent fender-bender. They endanger lives and drive up insurance costs for everyone.

•Fraud costs insurance companies millions of dollars a year in direct and in-direct expenses.
•Every dollar saved on fraudulent auto claims is a dollar spent on protecting safe and law-abiding drivers.

This report was provided to the media from Allstate Insurance.

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Insurance Fraud: The Dumb Criminal Chronicles IV

December 13, 2009

One of the greatest challenges insurance companies face is the ferreting out of insurance fraud. Wherever there is a chance that someone can get paid for submitting a fraudulent claim, there are also stupid people who are willing to give it a try.

Here are some recent examples:

1. The Charging Bull

NEW HAVEN, CT: Connecticut state investigators say have charged Garrett Dalton with felony fraud after he was spotted running a 40-yard dash in a race sponsored by a local radio station. Dalton was collecting worker’s compensation from alleged injuries sustained as a prison guard…otherwise known as a “bull.” Dalton entered a not-guilty plea.

2. Mr. Motion pleads guilty to faking injury

PENNSYLVANIA: The state Attorney General said that Michael Taris tried to make a claim for injuries from a slip and fall in a Seven Eleven store. But then investigators found out that Taris is a professional wrestler with the name “Mr. Motion,” and is trained to fake falls and injuries. Taris pleaded guilty and got three years probation.

3. Didn’t you think someone would notice her missing?

CHICAGO, IL: Donald Brewer was charged with first degree murder in the death of Kenyatae Brewer, 22, his wife and the mother of three kids to collect on her life insurance policy. Mrs. Brewer was found slain in the trunk of her Chevy Monte Carlo, shot multiple times.

She was not available for comment. Mr. Brewer may be unavailable for comment for 40-60 years.

Insurance fraud is serious business, since claims paid on fraudulent claims cost ALL of us higher premiums. It’s no different than shoplifting at a retailer. Stores simply add the cost of their “shrinkage” to the cost of the goods you and I pay for.

Report any suspected insurance fraud to the police. And know that most of the time, criminals get caught.


Insurance Fraud: The Dumb Criminal Chronicles III

December 12, 2009

One of the greatest challenges insurance companies face is the ferreting out of insurance fraud. Wherever there is a chance that someone can get paid for submitting a fraudulent claim, there are also stupid people who are willing to give it a try.

Here are some recent examples:

1. Cops should know better.

COLUMBIA, KY: Donnie and Tina Richmond have been arrested and charged with arson and perjury in the case of insurance fraud on a house they owned. Donnie is a Kentucky State Trooper…or should I say…was a Trooper. They have been indicted and will be tried for the fire that occurred in October 2009.

2. Sharing the wealth doesn’t pay.

Investigators at the Georgia Department of Insurance have arrested the man they allege was the “ringleader” in a fraudulent auto accident scheme that collected over $95,000 from various insurers.

Joseph Morris of Savannah was charged with three counts of insurance fraud. Each count could get Morris ten years in prison.

Morris filed 16 claims involving vehicles he either owned or previously owned, or claims involving people who were associates.

3. If you can skydive, maybe you’re OK.

HUDSON FALLS, NY: Jacob Bancroft, a press operator, claimed a back injury which allowed him to collect insurance benefits for about 18 months until he was discovered skydiving. He also did hot air ballooning, hiking, firefighting and heavy construction. His downfall was when he posted his activities on Facebook.

The video is at: ABC Insurance Fraud Video Clip

Insurance fraud is serious business, since claims paid on fraudulent claims cost ALL of us higher premiums. It’s no different than shoplifting at a retailer. Stores simply add the cost of their “shrinkage” to the cost of the goods you and I pay for.

Report any suspected insurance fraud to the police. And know that most of the time, criminals get caught.


Insurance Fraud: The Dumb Criminal Chronicles II

December 11, 2009

One of the greatest challenges insurance companies face is the ferreting out of insurance fraud. Wherever there is a chance that someone can get paid for submitting a fraudulent claim, there are also stupid people who are willing to give it a try.

Here are some recent examples:

1. Fire, Brimstone and the evil Church Music Director

KANSAS CITY,KANSAS: A church music director hatched an elaborate plan to torch the church where he worked.

Carva Lee White of Kansas City, Missouri, planned to convince the pastor to make an insurance claim, collect the money and then help White inflate repair bills and embezzle money from Church Mutual Insurance Company.

White actually set the fires inside the church on Halloween, 2008. The church, Missionary Baptist Church, received over $110,000 for the fire repairs. White is serving a 20-40 year sentence.

2. Conniving Contractor Bribes an Adjuster

SEATTLE,WA: Federal prosecutors filed fraud charges against Donald Chill, a disaster contractor, alleging insurance fraud of over $3.2 million.

Seems Chill bribed an adjuster to submit wildly inflated estimates for damages that Chill collected from Mutual of Enumclaw Insurance.

When challenged on prices, Chill created second estimates from nonexistent contractors and submitted them as “proof.”

The trail has not yet been completed.

3. With friends like this….

GARNER, NC: Kimberly J. Smithson was charged with larceny, breaking and entering, filing a false report and insurance fraud. Smithson stole jewelry worth over $14,000 from the home of a friend whose house she was watching. She also submitted a false claim to Assurant Insurance for electronics that she was paid for. Finally, she was found to have collected on a fire set at her home, which paid her over $9,000 for damages.

She awaits trial.

Insurance fraud is serious business, since claims paid on fraudulent claims cost ALL of us higher premiums. It’s no different than shoplifting at a retailer. Stores simply add the cost of their “shrinkage” to the cost of the goods you and I pay for.

Report any suspected insurance fraud to the police. And know that most of the time, criminals get caught.


Insurance Fraud: The Dumb Criminal Chronicles 1

December 10, 2009

One of the greatest challenges insurance companies face is the ferreting out of insurance fraud. Wherever there is a chance that someone can get paid for submitting a fraudulent claim, there are also stupid people who are willing to give it a try.

Here are some recent examples:

1. Arson (I like this story because of the restaurant’s name.)

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, FL: Two men were arrested and charged with insurance fraud after a 2008 fire at Wakey, Wakey Eggs & Bakey.

The fire was set in the kitchen after the restaurant closed on May 5, 2008, and caused over $200,000 in damages.

One of the owners, Victor H. Jara, was arrested and charged with arson and filing false insurance claims. Matthew Thayer, a contractor, was also arrested on the same charge.

The building’s owners had just evicted the restaurant owners for defaulting on the rent.

2. Dumb Insurance Adjusters…there are a bunch of them.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: A Maryland woman pleaded guilty to writing company checks to herself and depositing the money into her own checking accounts while she was an insurance claims adjuster.

Shironda Jones pleaded guilty to one count of felony theft over $500. She was sentenced and ordered to pay back over $16,000 she had stolen from Nationwide Insurance Company between September 2006 and September 2007.

3. Hometown Insurance Fraud…I missed out on all the fun.

KENT COUNTY, MICHIGAN: Grand Rapids, Michigan is known as the Furniture City, and is getting a reputation as a hub for medical research. But now it’s become the Michigan Mecca for insurance fraud.

Three of the top Five insurance fraud cases in Michigan in 2009 were committed in Kent County.

The top case was Dr. Robert Stokes, a dermatologist who bilked Medicare and other health insurers for over $2 million. He is in prison serving a 10-year sentence for double billing and charge for work he did not perform.

Stokes’ Tudor mansion on Reeds Lake, which he tried to sell for $7.7 million, was recently auctioned off by the bank for $1.75 million.

Next case involved James Westra, age 80, who paid a former employee to torch his business so he could collect over $300,000.

Third is Isaac Chandler, of Alpine Township, who was sentenced in Augustto at least six years in prison for selling $40 counterfeit insurance policies to almost 500 people.

Insurance fraud is serious business, since claims paid on fraudulent claims cost ALL of us higher premiums. It’s no different than shoplifting at a retailer. Stores simply add the cost of their “shrinkage” to the cost of the goods you and I pay for.

Report any suspected insurance fraud to the police. And know that most of the time, criminals get caught.


Best P&C Insurance Companies: How Do You Find The Best?

October 14, 2009

In 2008, The Department of Insurance of the State of New York released a report showing the 40 P&C insurance companies that had the most complaints. We did an article about this previously. We showed the ten worst companies, the ones that got the most complaints. But we did not feature the ones that got the least number of complaints in New York, a tough insurance market.

Here is the list of New York’s best P&C insurance companies as determined by the least number of complaints, higher number of complaints as you go down the list:

1. Long Island Insurance
2. Infinity Property & Casualty
3. Interboro Mutual
4. Tri-State Consumer Ins. Group
5. American International Group (AIG)
6. Safeco Insurance Group
7. Countrywide Insurance
8. White Mountains Group, OneBeacon, Esurance, Auto One Ins.
9. State Wide Insurance
10. Hannover RE Group, Clarendon National (no longer writing business)

You may find that some of these companies are only local or regional and that you cannot do business with them where you live. But notice that AIG, Safeco, OneBeacon and Esurance are national companies that got fewer complaints.

It’s not as easy to list a Top Ten Best P&C Insurance companies for America. We would have to contact all 50 state Departments of Insurance and find out which insurers had the least complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners presently does not have any such report. In addition, complaints are not the only criteria that should be used to evaluate an insurance company.

Think about this statement, my friends.

The only thing that truly matters about your insurance is what happens when you submit a claim. It doesn’t matter how good your agent is…or if the company sends you a calendar every year…or buys you dinner. It really doesn’t matter if you pay a low premium or a higher premium. Claims handling is EVERYTHING!!

    Claims are about KEEPING PROMISES.

When the insurance companies don’t keep their promises, the complaints pile up!

Lowest premiums are not the only criterion you should use, either. Shopping for insurance is confusing and complicated. Determining if your quotes are “apples and apples” comparisons takes strict attention to detail.

You may need the help of a dedicated, experienced agent to determine your insurance needs and buy the right policy. Still, my recommendation is to shop widely for your insurance needs. Get quotes from captive agents (who only write for one company) and independent agents (who write for multiple companies).

Getting quotes on the internet makes shopping for insurance very easy these days. But look for an insurance quote service that can give you competitive quotes PLUS strategies on submitting insurance claims that will help you collect thousands of dollars more in your claim settlements.

So, which insurance company should you do business with?

1. Choose a company that has an A+ or A rating from the insurance rating services like A.M. Best.
2. Get multiple insurance quotes at least every two years, then choose the company whose policies give you the most coverage for the least money. Don’t worry about company loyalty. The companies don’t care and neither should you.

If you are one of the unfortunate people who experience a loss of any kind, you’ll need to know how to handle your insurance claim so that you maximize your recovery. You will need to know how to take control of your insurance claim, and add hundreds or even thousands more dollars to your claim settlement. For more information, check out:

www.ClaimSecrets.com

For the only online insurance quote service that provides you competitive quotes and claims strategies, check out:

www.InsuranceQuoteHQ.com

You can win the insurance game if you have the right information. So go and win!


State Farm, Allstate and the McKinsey Report

August 29, 2009

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper recently did a two-part series on the business practices of State Farm Mutual Insurance and Allstate Insurance. It was the culmination of an 18-month CNN investigation of low-impact, soft-tissue injury accidents around the country. The series was then broadcast on CNN. The links to the two segments are listed below.

Three major insurance companies joined together and hired the legendary business consulting firm McKinsey and Company. McKinsey, in their customary fashion, looked at the insurance companies’ business practices and made recommendations on how to increase profits in a report entitled “The Three Ds: Delay, Deny and Defend.”

In delaying a claim, insurance companies place significant financial pressure on a policyholder or claimant. That pressure can force a policyholder or claimant to accept a much smaller claim settlement amount.

By denying a claim, insurance companies force policyholders and claimants to seek legal representation. Many personal injury attorneys are reluctant to take on a client for a small loss, since attorneys often work on contingency fee schedules. So, in the absence of good legal representation, policyholders and claimants are once again forced to accept “lowball” settlement amounts from insurers.

In defending a claim, the insurance companies take the position of forcing the policyholder first into the Appraisal process found in most policies. This requires that each party choose a representative, and then the representatives choose and umpire. The agreement of any two of the three chosen constitutes the claim amount. But this will add months to any claim process. The next step for the policyholder or claimant is to file a lawsuit. This will add years to the eventual settlement…if they can find legal representation and pay for it.

Insurance companies have taken this position with the intent of making the legal process so costly for personal injury attorneys that they become even more reluctant to accept new clients for small cases.

So far, the “Delay, Deny and Defend” tactics have been wildly successful for any insurance company that has adopted the tactics. Industry profits have risen considerably over the past few years, despite significant catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina.

Here are the links to the CNN reports.

Part One

Part Two

There is also a tremendous book available about this topic, entitled “From Good Hands To Boxing Gloves: The Dark Side of Insurance,” by David Bernardinelli. Here is a link:

From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves: The Dark Side of Insurance

There are some things you can do as a policyholder or claimant to prove your claims. Visit the website at: ClaimSecrets.com for more information.